I met my mom at 30th street station in Philadelphia in the early afternoon on Friday. We got a little to eat. Then headed to the University of Pennsylvania hospital.
Waiting. My mom and I wished every second would pass when there was no update from a nurse about my dad on Friday. We would get something like, “He’s doing well, but it is taking a long time because of the scar tissue from his previous surgeries..I don’t know when they will be finished..could be anywhere from 7 pm to 9 tonight.”
We knew we were in it for the long haul; my mom having been at the hospital since 7 am, and I, since the Lucy Septa bus from 30th Street Station to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital had not come on time, since 2 pm. We had also been told the doctor may call us; unfortunately my mom and I were trying very hard to keep both of our cell phones from dying!
It was 6:30, and the waiting room nurse told us to go into the hallway because the doctor was coming down to talk to us. I probably wasn’t the only one to secretly be panicking inside; I didn’t know if it was good or bad that he was on his way down. And so early?
A rather slender, asian man came down the stairs from the fifth floor, just having operated on my father for nine hours. He shook both of our hands, and flashed his bright, large smile. He told us that he completely reconstructed my father’s ascending aorta (the part over the heart), descending aorta (the part that extends from the ascending and travels down the spine), and replaced his artificial heart valve, put in place 15 years ago. All I could say was Wow! as his smile was so comforting, I would have trusted him with my own life. My mom compared it to that of Tiger Woods.
He said he was going to head back upstairs and finish up, so that we should be able to see him in an hour after he was brought up to the ICU. But an hour passed, and turned into waiting for a nurse to tell us he was set up and ready to see. We weren’t going to make the 8:45 pm trains.
Finally, she came to get us around 9 pm. We both have seen him right after surgery many times before, but it doesn’t get any easier to handle the waiting, and then that moment we were in. All the cords, machines, and breathing tube. Beeping that sounded like ringtones going off all around the wing we were in. A little hard to handle, myself not having had much to eat due to worry. But the nurse explained everything she would be doing, when she would be removing things as he woke up, and that made my mom and I feel really good because we had actually been informed about that mess around him.
My mom kissed him and said we’d see him tomorrow, and as I reached the door, I said “See ya later, Dude,” since the entire day had been filled with worry and almost void of laughter. We could have taken a bus, but it had stopped running three hours before, which Christopher told me when I called, because neither of us wanted to be stuck on the corner in Philadelphia. We were lucky to find a cab back to 30th Street Station, since there was a massive event going on not too far away. My mom’s phone had died while we waited for the nurse to say we could go in to see my dad, and luckily mine died right after that phone call to Christopher.
My mom made her way on the Lansdale/Doylestown line, and I waited for the Chestnut Hill West back to the apartment. I had been reading “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom, but I found it hard to read more due to hunger and to just missing my boy. The train pulled to a stop, and there was Christopher as I looked out the window. Tears fell so quickly out of my eyes, and I hugged him for few minutes.
That Friday felt like the longest day in the world. But to come back to him, having seen my dad being fine, I was truly speechless, grateful, and teary-eyed. I couldn’t stop saying how grateful and proud I am of Christopher. It was as if my heart had been exposed to the final beeping of a heart monitor, and then miraculously pulled back to life. And I just couldn’t help feeling so lucky to have the prayers of him, our family, and our friends keeping us hopeful throughout the day.
I felt as I did so many years ago after every other surgery my dad had; so afraid and unsure, to hope for a great recovery. The night before I could not stop crying because I was so worried. But here I am on the other side. Lucky to have more days with my father.




I won’t be going to work tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this), but not for an uplifting reason. During the next 24 hours, I will be praying my heart out. No, it’s not this new thing I’m trying, although praying has been something I’ve been doing every day since Monday. This is a little different because it involves the live of my father.
If you’ve read my previous post, Father., which I wrote for Father’s Day, you are probably with me at this point. I’ll try to recap anyway.
In 1997, my father’s aorta burst (importantly large vein that drapes over and is connected to the heart). He died for a few minutes, but miraculously, was brought back to life. A few weeks later, he made another trip to the hospital because he needed a heart valve replacement. Ten years later, my parents and I flew to Texas for the lower part of his aorta to be repaired (this part of it travels down your back). Two years after, he had two hernias in his stomach repaired, then a year or two later, had more repaired.
Back in Texas, my father was told that there was a small area which would need to be repaired eventually on the lower part. Which brings me to September 14, 2012.
He and my mother took the train to the University of Pennsylvania this afternoon. My father actually at the hospital right now, but won’t know what time the surgery actually is until midnight tonight. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. Of course I know that anything can happen. I’ll be heading there in a few hours to meet my mom. At this point, it’s all out of our hands, and all we can do is wait.